By KEITH KANE
PLATTSBURGH — The Lake City Stars showed just how good a team they can be during the first three quarters.
The fourth quarter, however, almost proved to be a nightmare.
Chateauguay scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, but Lake City was able to hold on for a 35-31 victory over the Titans at Melissa L. Penfield Park on Saturday.
“At the end of the game our youth really showed and we almost buckled under the pressure,” Stars head coach Pat Keleher said. “The mistakes we were making were not due to lack of skill, they were mental mistakes. We were blowing coverages and sometimes (we) didn’t know our assignments.
“The biggest thing at the end of the game was our mental mistakes.”
After Chateauguay kicked a 28-yard field goal to open scoring, Lake City marched down the field 59 yards to take a 7-3 lead on Brandon Keleher’s 1-yard touchdown.
The Titans took the lead back, however, at the end of the quarter when quarterback Zan Symonds got away from a couple of tacklers and found Treldon James open for a 46-yard touchdown pass.
It was all Stars in the second and third quarters.
Matt Bezio connected on a trio of touchdown passes — two coming in the third quarter — as the Stars took a 28-10 advantage.
Bezio first found Matt St. Clair on a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter for a 14-10 lead.
The duo liked it so much that they decided to do it again to start the third quarter, this one of the 35-yard variety.
Bezio’s third touchdown pass was to Heath Geiser, who caught a pass on an out route, managed to keep himself in bounds and took it the distance.
“I am very happy that we won,” Pat Keleher said. “We played so much better as a team tonight then we did against Amsterdam last week.
“Montreal didn’t show us anything that we weren’t prepared for. We protected better and got Matt some time, and we has time he knows what to do with it. He over threw some guys in the first quarter, but I think the adrenaline was just pumping a little too hard.
“We ran the ball a lot better tonight, we did just enough to keep the defense honest and that really helped our passing game.”
Kevin Wyeth took over for the Titans at quarterback in the fourth quarter, and thanks to a recovery on a touched ball on a punt, got Chateauguay within 11 when he found Marvin Joseph for an 8-yard score.
The Stars, however, quickly responded as Bezio hooked up with Chris Verkey for a 47-yard pass down to the four. Brandon Keleher took it the rest of the way on the next play for his second touchdown of the game.
Just 52 seconds later, a trick play by the Titans caught Lake City off guard, and Sean Kennedy found a wide open James for a 60-yard touchdown.
The Chateauguay defense held the Stars to a three-and-out on their next series and its offense went 65 yards for a Andrew Blevings 1-yard touchdown run.
Instead of going for two and getting the game within a field goal, the Titans decided to kick the extra point and were still down by four.
Chateauguay’s onside kick was recovered by Lake City’s Kellen Nolan, and the Stars ran out the final 1:40 to capture the win.
Bezio finished 11-for-23 for 232 yards and three touchdowns. St. Clair hauled in five passes for 74 yards and a pair of scores while Geiser pulled in three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Keleher rushed for a game-high 62 yards for Lake City while Geiser added another 49 on the ground.
Symonds led Chateaugay with 125 yards through the air on 7-of-13 passing and a touchdown. Wyeth came in to connect on 6-of-12 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.
James caught five passes for 153 yard and two touchdowns while Joseph pulled in six catches for 121 yard and a score.
Denis Houle paced the Titans’ rushing attack with 45 yards.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Pat Keleher said. “We just need to polish up our mental mistakes and get some things squared away in the secondary and I think we will be able to play with anyone.
“Now we’ll just get back to work for Vermont next week.”
The Stars will head to Vermont next Saturday to take on their rivals the Ice Storm for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Ice Storm defeated Amsterdam 26-14 to improve to 2-0.
Lake City 35, Chateauguay 31
Chateauguay 10 0 0 21 — 31
Lake City 7 7 14 7 — 35
C- 28 FG by Blevings, 8:11.
LC- B. Keleher 1 run (Montanaro kick), 12:31.
C- James 46 pass from Symonds (Blevings kick), 14:32.
LC- M. St. Clair 6 pass from Bezio (Montanaro kick), 13:58.
LC- M. St. Clair 35 pass from Bezio (Montanaro kick), 3:05.
LC- Geiser 23 pass from Bezio (Montanaro kick), 12:02.
C- Joseph 8 pass from Wyeth (Blevings kick), 8:46.
LC- B. Keleher 4 yard (Montanaro kick), 10:00.
C- James 60 pass from Kennedy (Blevings kick), 10:52.
C- Blevings 1 run (Blevings kick), 13:39.
C- Houle 13-45; Blevings 4-11, TD; Symonds 4-22; Dottin 4-13. Totals: 25-91, TD.
LC- B. Keleher 16-62, 2 TD; Ky. Nolan 4-14; Geiser 5-49; Bezio 2-13; M. St. Clair 1-2. Totals: 28-140, 2 TD.
C- Symonds 7-13-0-125, TD; Wyeth 6-12-0-105, TD; Kennedy 1-1-0-60, TD. Totals: 14-26-0-290, 3 TD.
LC- Bezio 11-23-0-237, 3 TD. Sacks: 1-(-5). Totals: 11-23-0-232, 3 TD.
C- James 5-153, 2 TD; Joseph 6-121, TD; Leduc 1-(-2); Houle 2-18. Totals: 14-290, 3 TD.
LC- Geiser 3-72, TD; M. St. Clair 5-74, 2 TD; B. Keleher 1-26; K. Lamoy 1-18; Verkey 1-47. Totals: 11-237, 3 TD.